Ford trial will predict traffic accidents waiting to happen
FORD is set to trial technology designed to predict traffic accidents before they happen in its latest effort to improve road safety.
The car giant will begin an 18-month project involving 700 connected cars across Oxfordshire and London, which can “communicate” with each other through internet signals.
Data from the fleet of vehicles – such as brake or accelerator pedal usage and steering wheel angle – will be analysed alongside information from up to 25 additional roadside sensors supplied by AI firm Vivacity Labs.
Interactions between the cars and sensors will give researchers insight into the likelihood of an accident occurring based on the movement of a car and the road layout.
“Soon every new vehicle will be a connected vehicle, and we see this as an opportunity to reduce road traffic incidents and save lives in a significant way,” said Jon Scott, project lead on Ford’s smart mobility team.
The Data-Driven Road Safety Tool is designed for city planners and councils to one day be able to take “pre-emptive action” and make changes to roads and junctions that “pose the highest risks to road users”.
The project, funded by Innovate UK, a government-backed innovation fund, involves close collaboration with Oxfordshire County Council and researchers at Loughborough University.
The trial builds on research done in London in which data scientists from Ford analysed more than a million miles of driving done by connected vehicles to supply local authorities with information about safety risks in key regions of the city.
Connected cars have been touted by the automotive industry as the way forward to safer roads, with a future envisioned in which cars can “talk” to one another through signals and sensors in a bid to minimise accidents.
Figures from the Department for Transport suggest the annual cost of road incidents exceeds £35bn.
“By connecting vehicle data with smart infrastructure, we hope this project will improve safety for all users,” said Llewelyn Morgan, head of innovation at Oxfordshire County Council.